How much is your culture costing you?

A new report from the Barrett Values Centre highlights the financial cost to organisations of embedded values that originate from fear, or create an environment of fear.

All organisations run on a combination of conscious and unconscious values that include positive as well as potentially limiting or negative values. When values and their associated behaviours are practiced daily they become ingrained in an organisation’s culture.

So just as positive values such as open communication, honesty, integrity and customer satisfaction lead to positive outcomes, potentially limiting values – which Barrett also terms ‘fear-based’ values–
result in negative behaviour, wasted energy and often significant organisational costs.

Cost savings from identifying limiting values

The report cites the real example of an organisation with 154 employees and an annual income of $48 million. Barrett Values Centre identified seven limiting values affecting performance and calculated the cost in lost productivity and lost opportunity to be around $18 million.

These limiting values
– each with a cost to the business based on staff estimates – were expressed as:



empire building

information hoarding


long hours

short term focus.

Measuring cultural values

Identifying and measuring an organisation’s values provides some hard data on which to base culture change decisions. The first step is identifying what values are expressed in your current culture, and how they are affecting your business.

At Peak Performance we use Richard Barrett’s Cultural Transformation Tools (CTT) to enable leaders to measure and manage culture.

CTT is the most comprehensive cultural diagnostic values assessment available. It’s a simple on-line survey that takes about 15 minutes. The survey is customised for every organisation and is available in several languages, making it ideal for multinationals.

For organisations that suspect their culture is being negatively influenced by limiting values, CTT is an effective way of finding out exactly what’s going on
, so you can then tailor a response to the right areas.

Posted: Tuesday 1 May 2012

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